A Replacement For the Skytower

For tech this semester (see project here), we are tasked with producing a skyscraper, it is much the same task as our tech paper last semester, same output requirements, just with a skyscraper. Firstly we had to choose a site, so my group chose to create a replacement for Auckland’s iconic Skytower.

Our first consideration was what to do with the existing structure, either tear it down or ‘retrofit’ it to some extent. Because of the immense concrete core that exists, we think it might be useful to keep this as an existing support structure for our building. But anything above the 150-200m mark will be removed. This would save a lot of cost of construction and keep our ecological footprint significantly smaller than doing otherwise.

Secondly, function and programme. At the moment, we’re suggesting that our proposal would be a high rise hotel complex with some residential suites and even the option of office space too. At 500m tall, there is certainly plenty of space to accommodate for multi-use.

Thirdly, the plan. At the moment, the existing structure is extremely narrow, so we would definitely plan to widen this out to make it more occupiable. This could be done by adding auxiliary structure around the perimeter of the existing concrete formwork. There are two options that we’re considering here, depending on the structural integrity of the concrete, we could either hang pod-like volumes off of it, or else we could add more supporting structure which would adjoin to the existing and create a level platform at the 200m mark from which to continue the build.

Fourthly, sustainabilty. Skyscrapers do not tend to be the best performers when it comes to sustainable practice, however Renzo Piano’s Shard delivers reasonably well on this front. It incorporates a triple glazing system with an air pocket between the layers of glazing which reduces the solar heat gain of the building significantly. Secondly, The Shard acts as a Combined Heat and Power Plant to provide a vast amount of energy to the surrounding area, this helps keep its carbon footprint rather low. Hence, we will be looking to the shard for some precedent on how to approach our design.

Lastly, structure. This is a key part of any building. For this, we will need to consider several things; foundations; earthquake proneness; wind deflection and air flow; and the underlying structural system. More thought will come here as we progress, however models of the current Skytower show that the building would perform extremely well under seismic stress, in fact it should be able to survive up to an 8.0 magnitude earthquake.

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